Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail
5
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One of the two superhighways of the Grand Canyon, this well maintained and popular trail offers breathtaking vistas, some shaded areas.
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  • Kevin
    Mountain View, California284 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    VERY challenging, but the views at Plateau Point were more than worth it!
    Disclaimer: the Bright Angel Trail technically goes for a long distance, but for the average person I would recommend you only go as far as you can...the 1.5 mile or 3.0 mile rest stops are good turnaround points if you wanted to go into the canyon but not hike all the way down to the Colorado River. And unless you already have a reservation to stay overnight at Phantom Ranch at the bottom, definitely do not attempt to hike down far and back in one day. So since my friend and I couldn't stay at Phantom Ranch, the next best thing we could do was hike down to Plateau Point for a day hike, which takes over 6 miles to get to from the top of the Bright Angel Trailhead at the rim (and the same distance to get back out). I would not recommend the average person do this, as I'm usually pretty fit for hiking and my knees began to hurt in the middle of the hike, which made it a bit harder for me to hike back up....and I was VERY sore for days. Do your research, assess your fitness level, and make the best decisions on how far down you want to go before turning back around. Remember that it gets much hotter the deeper you go into the canyon, and on average takes you twice as long to hike back out compared to hiking down. We started at around 6:45am and returned at 5:00pm, and this included breaks and spending about an hour at Plateau Point. It had some incredible views overlooking the Colorado River (you are about 1600 feet above the river), and we were lucky to also have a handful of California Condors flying right above us. We also got a lucky break with the weather, as it was much cooler than usual (high temps at the rim was low 60s, so it was about 75ish degrees down at Plateau Point), with cloudy skies and on and off rain. Keep in mind though that usually for September it will be sunny and warmer, with many parts with no shade from the canyon walls. Bring a hat, sunglasses, lots of sunscreen, a ton of water, some sports drinks to refill on salt and electrolytes, and lots of salty snacks to eat along the way. And make sure you take as many breaks as you need. Remember that it is optional to hike down, but mandatory to hike back up. If you hike this trail, start as early as possible to beat the heat.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 29 September 2023
  • orangegecko23
    Syracuse, New York262 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Breathtaking views and it was great to get on the trail
    This was our first view of the grand canyon and it was breath taking. We stood there for a minute or two and couldn't believe this was real. The depth and rock formations were just amazing. We hiked about and hour down to the toilet building, then back up about an hour if you stop for photos.
    Visited November 2022
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 October 2023
  • ConfederateMike
    Glasgow, Kentucky372 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must-do hike for anyone visiting the canyon
    We hiked to the 1.5 mile rest area and then back up. Our fear of heights passed after just a short while because we were focused on getting to the rest area then surviving the hike back up. We all had a sense of accomplishment when we finally made it back. We all had an appreciation for anyone who could make it to the bottom of the canyon and back up.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 October 2023
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5.0
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travelingAnthony
Hampstead, NC37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2020
Beautiful, well-kept trail that allows a special vantage point of the canyon and rim. We headed down, not sure how far we'd go knowing that every 100 easy feet forward represented anther 100 tough feet back. I took advantage of those we passed by asking them at what point did they turn around. Just as they're huffing and puffing, sweating bullets and looking like they can keel over at any moment, that's when I would pepper them with questions. Amusing, and I also found you get closer to the truth that way.
For those who are afraid of heights like me, just look down for the first ten minutes. You'll be fine. Eventually, the trail has a semi-gradual slope off to the side, enough that I was actually able to enjoy the view. 3 quarts of water and a nose bleed later, we made it just past the 1.5 mile marker. After getting accosted by rock squirrels at the water spigot, we took in the amazing view of the rim above us. Well worth it.
Heed the warnings though and the best way to do that is to be honest with yourself. There are some shady areas and plenty of encouraging hikers. Just take your time and get below the rim somehow.
Written 24 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

IndyKevin317
Indianapolis, IN109 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020 • Couples
This trail was the highlight of our trip. We hiked down to Plateau Point and back in less than 8 hours. We could have done it much quicker had I prepared myself for the hike. You might be able to go to the 1.5 or 3.0 mile mark and back with little to no training or preparation, but I wouldn’t recommend going past that point if you are not in shape. If you can’t hike 12 miles on flat ground you won’t be able to do it here either.

That being said, regardless of all the pain I was in for the next 3 days, it was worth it. It was so amazing to stand at the rail at Plateau Point and look down at the Colorado River below and the 360 degree views of the Grand Canyon. I would do it again, but I will be ready next time. I would also recommend you have good hiking boots/shoes and trekking poles. Of course bring plenty of water and food/snacks because you are going to need it. Layer your clothing. Temperatures started in the 40s at the top on the South Rim to 60s at Plateau Point back down into the 30s by the time we got back to the top.
Written 1 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Keith
81 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2020
We did this hike the same day we did Kaibob. We only went to the mile and a half mark as we were totally spent from our earlier hike. Very hot day inside the Canyon as we were told temps were around the 110 degree mark. There are water stations along the way, so that's helpful. Kaibob Trail for us was a bit more scenic, so we preferred it over Angel. Hiking down is easy, just don't forget.....you have to hike back up.....which is the hard part. Next time we plan to get down to Indian Garden (4.5 miles), tho several hikers we ran into that got that spot, said the payoff wasn't really worth it. Fun hike!
Written 12 September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joseph P
San Jose, CA389 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021
We're older so we knew we were not going all the way down. But we took our time, saw a petroglyph that another hiker pointed out only about 100 - 200 ft from the start under the rim, and hiked down to the archway in the trail. About 40 minutes total and returned.
Written 5 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Miguel
Amarillo, TX496 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
Don't let them scare you. If you're in shape, you can get back up from 1.5 mile marker about as fast as you go down. After getting back up, we wished we had gone down further. Extremely scenic. We got to see some Bighorn sheep so keep your eyes open. Most easily seen by spotting their white butts. Early October was perfect time to be at the Canyon.
Written 28 October 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JonQuirk
Orange County, CA106 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2020 • Couples
We hiked to 1.5 mile rest for both sunset and sunrise back to back and it was amazing. Going down is easy but coming back up will put some lactic acid in your quads. Highly recommend taking this semi easy (considering the trip from the rim to the river and back is 14 hours long) hike!
Written 19 September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

benl
annapolis136 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2020
This is the trail where people head out for the four days of serious hiking and camping into the canyon, and even rock climbing. But I just found that if you want to go in a 1/4 mile or a mile, it's OK and well worth it. After several trips to the Grand Canyon over the years I didn't realize that. Even the first 1/3 of a mile is spectacular and you can do it safely in casual clothes and good shoes (although I did pass a group of ladies in Jack Rogers sandals...Yow. )
Written 14 July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Justin T.
Lancaster, PA127 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2021
Definitely do this trail over South Kaibab, particularly if you don't have experience hiking much. This trail did not seem as slippery, and it is also easier. There are also rest stations and water stops (not all are available all year), which South Kaibab did not have. There is also a really nice portion of the trail that is relatively flat about 3.5 miles down and a wooded section.

Naively, when we first planned this trip we thought about hiking down to the river and back in a day. We ended up ditching this plan. There is absolutely no way. We ended up stopping four miles down at Indian Garden. That wasn't even halfway to the river! I couldn't believe we'd only gone four miles.

I would not recommend going beyond Indian Garden, and even that will be too far depending on the person. There was a sign to the effect of "going down is optional...going up is mandatory." Bring lots of water and Gatorade...more than you think you'll need. I saw some people walking with one water bottle. This is a really, really bad idea.

Be smart, take it slow, and have fun!
Written 24 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

himmelcat13
Howell, MI196 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
Do NOT underestimate the hike up. As a sign states very accurately 'going down is optional, going up is mandatory' That being said, if you want to completely immerse yourself in the grand canyon, this is the hike to do. You don't truly understand the depth until you start going into the belly and realize just how long it took to go so little. START EARLY, bring water and proper hiking gear, and unless you are physically fit, do not try going down to the colorado river and back in one day. We went down to Indian Gardens, 9 miles rt, starting at 6am and arrived about 8am, hitting about a 1.5 miles every 30 minutes on average with stops for photos. However, the way up took twice as long, about one hour for every 1.5 miles, and by the time we reached the surface at 11:15 am, there was barely any shade left. We were fortunate to have cooler weather for our hike (about 60 degrees at Indian Garden when we were there) but we were still very warm due to the exertion of going up 3,000ft. When we were at Indian Garden, we overheard people asking for directions to the colorado river, which was another 4 miles away, effectively making it a 17ish mile round trip which was far too long to do in a day by the time they arrived. If you're hoping to go down to the river, either spend the night in phantom ranch (which books up far in advance) or leave very early in the morning with headlamps on. We also saw quite a very people in sandals, flip flops, carrying purses and not paying attention to where they were going and what they were doing, and even saw someone need helicopter rescue at Indian Gardens while we were on our ascent. Do not be fooled, this is a hiking trail through and through, and planning ahead for that will save you a lot of agony. Overall, we felt like this was the quintessential experience for hikers wanting to truly experience the grand canyon more than just gawking, but if you're not prepared you will regret it.
Written 17 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Travellinguy2013
Dallas, TX128 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
June 2021
This is one of if not the most popular trail that actually goes into the canyon. First time I was there, I was confused to discover it gets hotter as you go deeper. Apparently cold does not sink at the GC. And apparently I was not the only one who didn't realize this. We came across dozens and dozens of people who looked like they were seriously about to die within the top quarter mile of this trail. So I strongly advise staying on the rim if you are not in shape. While it was only about 80 degrees on the rim, it quickly rose above 90 not far below it, and was over 100 down by the river. If you are in shape for it though, this is one of the best hikes in the west.
Written 9 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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